Creative Data Literacy

Data collection, storage, and the skills to work with data are not evenly distributed. Through creative pedagogy, open source tools, and free libraries of activities, our work seeks to build capacity for civic actors to collect, analyze and communicate with data. This includes journalists, librarians, government staff, nonprofit and community-based organizations, artists, educators, and policymakers.

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Creative Data Literacy: Bridging the Gap Between the Data-haves and Data-have nots

Working with data is an increasingly powerful way of making knowledge claims about the world. There is, however, a growing gap between those who can work effectively with data and those who cannot. Because it is state and corporate actors who possess the resources to collect, store and analyze data, individuals (e.g., citizens, community members, professionals) are more likely to be the subjects of data than to use data for civic purposes. There is a strong case to be made for cultivating data literacy for people in non-technical fields as one way of bridging this gap. Literacy, following the model of popular education proposed by Paulo Freire, requires not only the acquisition of technical skills but also the emancipation achieved through the literacy process. This article proposes the term creative data literacy to refer to the fact that non-technical learners may need pathways towards data which do not come from technical fields. Here I offer five tactics to cultivate creative data literacy for empowerment. They are grounded in my experience as a data literacy researcher, educator and software developer. Each tactic is explained and introduced with examples. I assert that working towards creative data literacy is not only the work of educators but also of data creators, data publishers, tool developers, tool and visualization designers, tutorial authors, government, community organizers and artists.

DataBasic: Design Principles, Tools and Activities for Data Literacy Learners

The growing number of tools for data novices are not designed with the goal of learning in mind. This paper proposes a set of pedagogical design principles for tool development to support data literacy learners.  We document their use in the creation of three digital tools and activities that help learners build data literacy, showing design decisions driven by our pedagogy. Sketches students created during the activities reflect their adeptness with key data literacy skills. Based on early results, we suggest that tool designers and educators should orient their work from the outset around strong pedagogical principles.